SENATORIAL bets actor Manuel "Lito" Lapid, who is seeking for reelection under Lakas-Kampi-CMD, and one of the youngest candidates Ruffy Biazon of the Liberal Party (LP) were in Bacolod City Friday to open their respective campaigns.

Biazon, son of Senator Rodolfo Biazon said he would like to pursue some of the legislations sponsored by his father at the Senate and concentrate on bills concerning National Defense, education, and some primary needs of the people.

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Biazon said the LP is still waiting at this time for the ruling of the Comelec about their petition that the party be recognized as the Dominant Minority Party.

"It has been recognized in the past elections and it's the reality when we go around", Biazon said.

On the tuition fee increase, Biazon said he may propose a moratorium on the creation of more state colleges and universities nationwide. This could be one of the solutions to the tuition fee increase because more of these also entail the spreading of the government resources too thinly.

Biazon also asked the students not to engage in violent rallies and pickets as they protest against the tuition fee increase.

Lapid on the other hand, promised that he will continue working on legislations that will give "benefits for the masses."

Lapid, the main author of Senate Bill (SB) 2361 or the Legal Assistance to the Poor Act of 2010, said the measure would encourage more lawyers and law firms to render pro bono services to poor clients who could not afford legal services by giving them tax credits in exchange for free assistance.

The bill grants an allowable tax deduction of up to 10 percent of the gross income of lawyers or law firms accredited by the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice to render service to the poor in exchange for tax deductions.

SB 2361, ratified by the Senate last Wednesday, was co-authored by Senator Francis Escudero.

The senators said the new law would also preclude the wrongful conviction of suspects just because they were poor and could not afford the services of lawyers.

Under the bill, indigent litigants will have the opportunity to acquire the services of distinguished law firms and legal practitioners of the country for free.

The Public Attorney's Office, Department of Justice or the accredited legal aid clinic shall issue a certification that services were rendered by the lawyer or professional partnership under this act. The certification shall include the cost of the actual services given.

The lawyer or professional partnership shall present the certificate/s to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which shall deduct from the annual taxable income of the lawyer or professional partnership, the total cost of the actual services rendered as appearing in the certificate/s or 10 percent of the annual gross income derived from the actual practice of the profession, whichever is lower.

The actual free legal services in the proposed law shall be exclusive of the 60 hours mandatory legal aid service required under a Supreme Court-issued Bar matter.

Meanwhile, Biazon also challenged the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit to leave the military post on June 30, 2010.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier named Bangit as the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Bangit belongs to the Philippine Military Academy "Makatarungan" Class of 1978.

Biazon said Bangit should leave the military post on June 30, “whatever and whoever the president is” adding that Bangit’s sole mission is to ensure honest and orderly elections, after which he should automatically retire, noting that his appointment did not surprise them, as he is perceived to be loyal to President Arroyo.

Recently, Biazon has filed a House Resolution 1587 calling for the term extension of Ibrado, heading the clamor from senior AFP officials and other concerned groups.

Bizaon claimed that it would be best if the AFP has stable leadership during the entire process of the elections, from the beginning of the campaign to the end of the canvassing making stability in the AFP not only crucial but essential, and it would be good to have someone singularly accountable for the AFP during the entire election period.

He said the change in AFP leadership in the middle of the campaign of the national and local elections will result in politics and military top-brass positioning simultaneously taking center stage.

He added that the appointment of the new AFP chief of staff during the final few months of the current administration is unfair to the next president who may be forced to accept a chief of staff who is not his choice or be forced to replace him ahead of his retirement in which case it would be to the disadvantage of the newly-appointed officer.